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The DOD EHR Contract, Federal Funding for State HIE Networks, Flex-IT Act 2, and Other Health IT Policy Updates

August 4, 2015 Leave a comment

The U.S. Department of Defense awarded its estimated $9 million EHR technology modernization contract to Cerner/Leidos/ Accenture. The other two competing groups were Epic/IBM and Allscripts/Computer Sciences Corp/Hewlett-Packard. Cerner’s group is charged with providing an off-the-shelf commercial product that integrates across the Military Health System and works with other private sector systems.

The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) announced the awardees of its trio of Recovery Act (ARRA) funding opportunity reboots. The awards, which resemble ARRA-era programs, are for statewide health information exchange (HIE) networks, health IT workforce training, and for a convener (AcademyHealth) to use health IT tools to address population health challenges in 15 communities.

ONC recently announced pre-registration for its fifth annual Consumer Health IT Summit, occurring October 1, 2015 in Washington, DC. The event is focused on various federal and private sector health IT initiatives to facilitate patient engagement, self-management, and precision medicine.

Representative Renee Ellmers (R-NC) introduced the Flex-IT Act 2 (HR 3309) on July 30.  The legislation would delay Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) promulgation of the Stage 3 “Meaningful Use” final rule and mandate a 90-day EHR reporting period every year, among various other tweaks.

As of this writing, final rules for the three MU-related rulemakings in the pipeline (CMS’ “Stage 3” and “2015-17 fix,” and ONC’s “2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria”) have not yet been submitted for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulatory review. This essentially means we still have at least one month (and likely more) to go before final rules are promulgated. As the last start date to begin a 2015 EHR reporting period (as proposed in the “fix” proposed rule) will be October 1, 2015, there will likely be a tight, last minute squeeze on MU participants waiting to leverage the imminent improvements to the MU regulations this calendar year.

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